Randy Y. Owen
The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2015.
Randy Y. Owen has been the front man and lead vocalist of Alabama, one of the most prolific groups in the history of music for over 40 years. The band signed a recording contract with RCA Records in 1980, launching a career that to date has resulted in 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, 43 number one singles, and over 73 million albums sold. This ranks Alabama in the top 10 of the top-selling groups of all time for all genres of music. Alabama has received over 150 industry awards including eight country music “Entertainer of the Year” honors, two Grammys, two People’s Choice Awards, and their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They were named the “Artist of the Decade” by the Academy of Country Music in 1989 and “Country Group of the Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999. In November 2005, Owen and his Alabama band mates received Country Music’s highest honor when they were inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. “I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished, and I hold what Alabama has done as a very sacred part of my life,” said Owen.
His passion for helping others is evident through the types of causes he chooses to support. No organization is dearer to his heart than the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 1989, he was asked to address the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville following the death of Danny Thomas. Inspired by the dreams and determination of Thomas, Owen offered a challenge to those in attendance to accept Thomas’ dream of eradicating childhood cancers and other catastrophic diseases. He delivered the message and Country radio accepted the challenge with passion. “Country Cares for St. Jude Kids” was born. The national radiothon program is today the most successful radio fundraiser in history. The events have raised over $500 million since Owen’s challenge in 1989. He also hosts a celebrity golf tournament which has raised over $1 million dollars in charitable funds for the Boys & Girls Ranches of Alabama.
When not on the road playing music, Owen can be heard on his 4-hour weekly syndicated radio show, Country Gold with Randy Owen. The show features country music from the 1970‘s through the mid 1990‘s and includes stories and memories from Owen. “It’s so wonderful getting to visit with fans, tell stories from the road, and play some of my favorite songs and some of the greatest songs ever recorded,” he said.
Owen and his wife of 40 years, Kelly, can also be found operating their successful, registered Hereford & Angus cattle ranch, Tennessee River Music, Inc., atop Lookout Mountain near his boyhood, family farm. They host auctions throughout the year, and their cattle have won numerous national and regional awards.
The Owens have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Their children Alison, Heath, and Randa are graduates of Jacksonville State University, Samford University, and Auburn University, respectively. Owen is a graduate of Jacksonville State University where he also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.